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Just Get Over It


My periods were always chaotic

& I was partying hard.

My baby boy had a rocky road those first months,

inside me when my life was joylessly forgotten.


Everyone promised.

Nothing was delivered, I sat by

his sickness, tiny Jim would cough like he was

expelling the world.


That shitty-toothed winter I would constantly push the pram up/down a Victoria St that was so busy with connection.

Prostitutes & social workers tutted in the gloom.

Tony once dropped by randy & broke, hadn’t seen him in years


- those years were severed strings. I once sat in St John’s

crying to all those Christs who run the world.

Blood on the door was some message -

the minister sounded positive, all will have shelter


from the blights of the Lord. Jimmy cried softer

then died. There was so much sympathy

for 6 weeks. 67 “friends” “liked” the funeral arrangements.

Everyone said it was time to


Get Over It.

I will live without compartments.

from Getting By           Not Fitting In (Island, 2016)




This dozen amused tourists

surround a dead dragon on the sand.


Its last ferocity

is the stench that armours each ending.

Already delicate fins are trimmed to lace

by the scission of crabs.


Beneath a corona of flies

spirit is urged to shuck flesh.


Harp of teeth

reach out to voice.

A roadmap of spine leads towards the spume.


Hygienically cleansed

under flash–bulb asepticism.


Any shift in tide will send this

crashing to the tale.

There is history,

but it won’t tell.

From Sea of Heartbeak (Unexpected Resilience)







is light, the pixel storm.

Airless stream

warm ride

the random grim forge

biography of space

effulgent plumes

airless gash-gold

unmannered manna

hand painted diamond

spotlit rock.


It is the explosion of mass, all coalescence is an antithesis

and we dare not look.


Here, where deities are discussed,

in the topography of sunlight

we blather in chasms of parrot green,

tumbling lambs and tinted alps.

The lake falls home

(ti-tree bows and gumnut scrap),

foreign grasses run for cover.


The estranged children are shadows,

young men linger in the canopies

of their failure to thrive.

Light is father for those who rule -

caterwauling congress

fenced under tin.

But we are dappled things and cordial -

tamed festival, flakes of sparrow.

For this I pray to Energy,

Toot the Rod.


From holtite eyes

gems of dyed blond

rose-moles on backs

bikini tops sleep on incandescent sand.

Beneath the sun we are always naked,

aroused and prayerful.

Landlords ring the Holy, nagging customers of this

heaven-handled electrician… burning plastic,

smouldered books.


God1 eats all space and burns out gender,

the ruins of territory are silent. You are pleasure

and greed. The christians were right,

except the judgement. If love lies here

it’s buried deep. Appropriately inexplicable

radiant pestilence.


I am healed beneath your lips.




From The Ambrosiacs (Island, 2009)






On the train

the two of them are big, wear

denim like animal skins, hair carved freeways

& beards a wilderness. They stink (soil, damp & sweat).


Talking to a woman

Newtown              mid 30s

her language cranked down to a strine

that soothes, dampens, lubricates

the rambling of these men.


Everything they do or say

is as though it's grabbed.

Even simple talk about the weather is found

& taken like a ram raid.


No, she doesn't drink

after 15 years of fighting it -

Fucks ma head.

Her face torn,

tense - maybe unfriendly except for the words plus

she's given them her address

(causing the shit-rich shipwrecked

suit-woman across the aisle to become panicky,

a shiver at the perimeter).


Yeah Newtown. They're heading to the Cross

....for a while.


I realise they're me, bar a few accidents.

I'm her with her habits

in handbags & other people's hallways.


They're a miracle of matching

& so common.


Or rape. Will the guys talk about

sharing the bitch?


Perhaps she'll tame

& pamper them with hot meals beside eastern curtains.

Give them perfumed baths, stories to carry

to the next stop.


Prison, psych hospitals

the bush & the beats.


They're dangerous


& wander uncertain paths with only

a spinning bottle for a compass.        


Previously published in Stories of the Feet (Five Islands, 2004)




In the signal box, elevated

beyond tracks, freight or people

Jack was smoking

& talking

like a great steam engine while

Neal just sat quiet, his

body so at ease it was like

the different parts were talking to each other,

shootin' the shit.


I was younger, more stories

than scars.


& Jack pulled up a bottle from

that busted brown leather bag he took everywhere.

A few loose sheets of paper

were caught up in his hand along

with the bottle &

it seemed they were hanging onto that bourbon

like a bunch of desperate men.


But one by one

each page

dropped back

into Jack's sack.


There was a quiet to the place, each

bell or mechanical chnk discrete & isolated

so that by themselves the noises barely registered.

Up the tracks

an express freight stood at the second home with

the patience of some sedated circus elephant.


Neal wrote a poem with his huge (caressing) right hand.

Took Jack's reduced bottle

to his rolling lips.


Nervous amongst elders

my jokes aim for original

but often just "off".


I was the first one to break, that

train's power held back by only

the insubstantial

fakery of rules, coloured lights.

Pulled the lever & the locomotive began its

tectonic shift towards momentum as

the bottle sunk to the desk.


Jack scrawled the time in the signal box log.

He was always the recorder.


Boy lacks staying power Neal mutters.

I take up a tin of oil & a scraper -

leave to clean the points.


Jack smiles,

his pages writhe in the darkness.



Previously published in Appetites of Light (PressPress, 2002)





Summer never comes till January:

false starts through crooked Spring ,

breaking of waters in a wet December,

tossed chum/ the blood of christmas. Then HERE.


Our feet like dinosaurs on this beach wearing

gold from the textures of sand


& lovers, we touch

with the sacred clumsiness of monks

hungry seagulls scowl

as tour buses prowl the promenade

a  dance in slow motion           (familiar in the dry notes,

dots amongst coils).


Our thongs wander past

energetic panel vans.

Nearby, some anxious soul says

"there is no fear"  even as he looks.

He is an extra....

(they also serve who only stand & stare).


"Bang!" she laughed happily. Young women, lycra trips,

falling as the promised old leaves,

falling like the surf,


falling like ink, like

something important


Male hormones above the droplets airborne, each day

heat hangs over everyone

like a loan.

The afternoon breeze arrives innocently

(never, of course, to be trusted).


Children run across the placid surface of sunbaking adults,

someone thinks of dinner.

Hair teased up like parakeet, Matt, The Cork, parades .


Small humours, pigment, the constant breaks.


Look back in languor,

pure as idiocy

happy as pharmacy


I ride the curving stream of your neck.

Riding this day.



Previously published in The Ways of Waves (SideWaLK, 2000)




For Lake Pedder, dammed for electricity generation


1.       Over the browns and

ginger of that month.


Rain on the day, gangs of

silver mist


First light ink-brush fingers

combed the distance / soothing

the arch back of stone.


2.       They are waiting

for the word

in weatherblown, torn khaki plastic.



in angry fusillade dropping from the clouds against

the obdurate calm of the waters,

as like opposing elements

this downpour is no relation

to the lake's still

or the earthbound beard of ice clinging

brittle beneath overhangs.



& other human stuff

bounce off the pink sand.


3.       Some have dived to find the hidden shore,

pressed fingers on the old beach.


And sunsets still bring rose to the water

as the lake lies buried beneath itself.


previously published in Nitty Gritty (Five Islands,1997)







Pay the money, ride.



wear it tight

wrapped/ oil

wet fibres            SPONSOR'S MESSAGE

a new technology smile

a water based lubricant smile its an


Angelino evening the

old yellow sun simply up & gone

like a chaperone on strike.


DRUGSTORE, barn sized, never shut. Its aisles/

pain relief, socks & deck chairs.

PINK PUSSYCAT          blinking quietly,

a building knitting.

VINE ST BAR & GRILL         or others similar, alcohollywood

inspirations on stools when the poets & singers turn to make

this world culture.


Night traffic             ambient prattle

shop window church collects        a few

wandering hopers      passing through.


The people. Reach past 501s,

chain mail of badges to clutter each lapel.

That woman by Vermont.


The smoky patois

of Harry in the Downtown Sports Bar.


Latinos, afro, asian, whites

city suburbs & tribes separately,

side by side.

Unchanging &

newly born each evening like the city's

famous ocean breeze

racing towards the desert.

from Tickle (Island, 1993)



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© Les Wicks